Column: Fishing season rules changes proposed

Changes to the 2019-2020 fishing season were among the regulations proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 11, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Several other changes presented to the council were voted on which had previously been presented to the council earlier this year. These changes were approved and become effective later this month.

Several changes were proposed for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass) in the Lake Erie sport fishing district. Currently, the season for black bass in the Lake Erie sport fishing district is closed from May 1 through the last Saturday in June. It was proposed to remove this closure to provide a year-round open season for black bass, providing anglers with more opportunities. Additional proposed rules would establish a daily bag limit of one black bass with an 18-inch minimum size limit from May 1 through the fourth Saturday in June to continue to protect the fishery. Outside of this period, the existing black bass regulations of a five-fish daily limit with a 14-inch minimum size limit would still apply

Changes were proposed to crappie size and bag limits at certain waters. It was proposed that the 30-fish daily bag limit and the 9-inch minimum size limit for crappie be removed at the following lakes and reservoirs: Acton, Cledening, Hargus, Highlandtown, Knox, Madison, Nimisila, Rush Creek and Springfield lakes; C.J. Brown, Clear Fork, Griggs and West Branch reservoirs. Removal of these regulations is expected to improve the crappie fisheries at these locations as well as provide anglers more opportunities to harvest fish from these areas.

Additional proposed rule changes include allowing camping at K.H. Butler Wildlife Area in Gallia County; increasing the annual fee for watercraft docking permits at ODNR Division of Wildlife owned docks; and changes to ginseng harvest requirements.

A complete list of proposed rules changes can be found at

New counties were approved to open for river otter trapping, as the species is now prevalent in many areas. All counties formerly in Zone “A” have been moved to Zone “B.” In addition, several counties were moved from Zone “C” to Zone “B.” These counties are: Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Perry, Scioto and Vinton. All three river otter trapping zones season bag limits have not changed. Total river otter trapping season bag limits are zero otters for Zone A, one otter for Zone B and three otters for Zone C.

Additional approved rule changes include increasing quail hunting opportunities at Tri-Valley and Crown City wildlife areas, and allowing the use of attached range finders and other devices that utilize non-visible light when hunting with a longbow or crossbow.

A statewide public hearing on the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. For those unable to attend the hearing, comments will also be accepted online at The online form will be available in August.

• The public is invited to attend a free workshop on the basics of frog gigging on Aug. 7, according to the ODNR. The workshop will begin at 7 p.m. at the Barney Quilter CCC Camp, located at 1518 East County Road 113, Green Springs 44836. Participants should plan to stay well after dark to participate in the field portion of the workshop.

Topics to be covered by ODNR Division of Wildlife officials include equipment, techniques, regulations and a cleaning demonstration. At dusk, groups will search the ponds on camp property with ODNR Division of Wildlife staff in pursuit of frogs. Participants are encouraged to wear old clothes and shoes and bring waders, hips boots, or a canoe or kayak to better access frogs in the ponds. A headlamp or flashlight is also recommended.

Interested parties are reminded that anyone 16 years of age or older is required to have a valid fishing license to participate. Preregistration is required by Aug. 6, as space is limited. Please contact Andrea Altman at 419-429-8321 for more information and to register.

Visit the ODNR Division of Wildlife website at to learn more Ohio’s fishing opportunities and local wildlife.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!


Water and Wings by Ken Parrott



Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.